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#sugar-meeting, 2010-08-24

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Time Nick Message
12:04 bernie walterbender: I was in Salinas. They use Scratch, Etoys and some Turtle Art. They say they need more activities for teaching math and that geography now is much more engaging thanks to wikipedia / google maps
12:04 walterbender a quick here to record our quorum?
12:04 here
12:04 tomeu here
12:04 bernie here
12:04 cjb here
12:04 bernie mchua_afk, CanoeBerry: ping?
12:04 cjb don't know how long I can stay, not at 1cc yet
12:05 bernie anyone knows what happened to sean?
12:05 walterbender CanoeBerry: you arrived!!
12:05 bernie he's been very silent lately
12:05 walterbender cjb: as long as you can :)
12:05 #topic maintainers
12:05 tomeu bernie: maybe you want to make a summary of your efforts in bringing new maintainers?
12:05 walterbender bernie: any comment on the backlog discussion (which I will add to the log)
12:07 bernie tomeu: yup
12:08 so, I think paraguay got to the point where it could autonomously develop sugar. it took some time with dsd and then some time with me
12:08 however, something went wrong
12:08 as you may know, rgs left one month ago
12:08 then me
12:09 cjb oh, I didn't know about rgs
12:09 bernie the remaining people are overworked and stressed due to lack of a barrier between them and the field. they might quit as well
12:10 so I'm very sad to say that we cannot count on Paraguay Educa doing too much engineering from now on
12:11 I'm now in uruguay. I have seen huge progress from no participation at all to a good level of engagement. technical skills have also gone up a lot
12:11 they're hiring new sugar developer(s)
12:11 walterbender I guess it just takes time...
12:11 bernie nepal has lost its CTO (bryan) and has hired someone (peter something) to continue development of Karma
12:12 walterbender but we should also try to understand what is broken in .py... a big investment in engineering and now it is vanished?
12:12 did we do something wrong?
12:12 bernie there was some interest on your side to update their platform (dextrose) but I don't think they plan to put engineers on Sugar itself
12:12 walterbender or was it circumstance?
12:13 bernie walterbender: I think it was just unlucky circumstances. both me and rgs leaving at the same time have disoriented the others.
12:13 walterbender: as you know, there was also a strong conflict between a very innovative techteam and a very conservative eduteam
12:13 tomeu bernie: and on the AC front? how are they progressing on the maintenance front?
12:14 bernie walterbender: in uruguay the "capacitadores" seem much much much more technical and would not have lobbied to stop a software upgrade
12:14 tomeu: AC has been struggling to find skilled full time engineers
12:14 tomeu: m_anish is a star.
12:15 tomeu and aside m_anish?
12:15 bernie tomeu: aa and alsroot are also participating, but the first has very little free time and the second just started
12:15 walterbender bernie: Ironically, from the pedogogical POV< the .py edu team is about the most progressive I have seen
12:16 bernie tomeu: david also temporarily hired rgs to work on Browse + WebKit, but after a couple of weeks he decided he'd rather stay away from the entire olpc world for a while longer.
12:16 walterbender: yes, that's true. pacita is amazing from the pedagogical pov
12:17 tomeu bernie: so from your side, there isn't really interest presently from deployments in providing maintainers?
12:17 bernie walterbender: however, until now, she has never used sugar herself. (I've not seen her since he went to boston, maybe you changed that?)
12:17 walterbender tomeu: interest or ability?
12:18 tomeu walterbender: interest
12:18 walterbender tomeu: I think there would be interest
12:18 bernie tomeu: I think they don't know what it means exactly and why they'd want to maintain something when they could simply change random things
12:18 tomeu walterbender: I have heard in the past about interest, but I'm not sure it's still valid
12:18 bernie: ok, that's a very interesting point
12:18 walterbender tomeu: I think it is (1) not having a clear understanding and (2) a lack of experienced people
12:19 bernie tomeu: pyedu, with its free-software-aware cto, was the most likely to grow a maintainer quickly, but now I wouldn't hold breath any more.
12:19 tomeu I was hoping that through their involvement in the non-technical side of things in the deployment team, they would get to know progressively how their software is made
12:19 walterbender: yes, I'm tying to understand a bit better in detail
12:20 bernie tomeu: I think david might be interested to put someone full time at maintaining things. for example, m_anish.
12:20 tomeu bernie: that would be great
12:20 bernie tomeu: david's short term goal is to send some of his men to deployments so they can build expertise on the needs of deployments.
12:20 tomeu bernie: so the biggest blocker is making deployments aware of how their software is made and how it affects them?
12:20 bernie tomeu: this is the part of his plan that I like the most.
12:20 tomeu bernie: and deployments learn from them?
12:21 bernie tomeu: that's hard: they are at a stage in which their resources are split between: logistics, hw support, network infrastructure, schoolserver, platform work, sugar and activities
12:22 tomeu: if they do employ 5 decelopers, it's unlikely that one would be put full time hacking on sugar.
12:22 tomeu: activities are perceived (note, perceived) as more important to pedagogy than sugar itself.
12:22 tomeu well, ideally none would be full-time
12:23 bernie tomeu: the view that the laptop is just an array of activities is, of course, naive... but it might take one more year before they see this.
12:23 tomeu bernie: hmm, what will happen during that year?
12:23 bernie tomeu: it takes more expertise to understand the role of the environment than the hardware or the individual activities...
12:24 tomeu: it's more subtle (and more fundamental too... but how do you explain it?)
12:24 tomeu: my hope was that uruguay and paraguay would continue their technical collaboration and maybe add more developers
12:25 tomeu: working on the platform is a perfect excuse to do plenty of sugar work as well, as we did in dextrose
12:25 tomeu: however, the quality of their contribution is still somewhat below the level we expect upstream.
12:26 tomeu: there's awareness of the importance to upstream changes, but it's not sufficient to overcome the barriers.
12:26 tomeu bernie: do you think we cannot expect to find a way to raise the quality of those contributions in the med term?
12:26 bernie tomeu: some patches were written with variables in spanish and there's close to 0 gain for the deployment to rewrite them after they have already gone in production.
12:27 tomeu: I think we need to create an ascending slope like we do for children... just raise the pole gently as people get more experienced...
12:27 tomeu bernie: that's interesting, so we could try to create a guided progression?
12:28 bernie tomeu: because I had only junior-level contributors (except for tch) to work  with me, I had to choose between not doing anything or allow dozens of unupstreamable patches in dextrose
12:29 tomeu: the risk, of course, was to fork too much, which is what happened. we have some 100 unmerged patches, of which maybe a dozen are going to be merged soon.
12:29 well, maybe two dozens
12:30 tomeu: now that the release pressure is down, tch, aa and m_anish are spending some time upstreaming their work
12:30 tomeu guess the dextrose schedule didn't played that well with 0.90s
12:30 bernie some patches really aren't worth upstreaming at all... they are deployment customizations such as the reintroduction of the Restart button
12:30 tomeu: oh, yes. that was really unfortunate...
12:31 tomeu: again, there was a hard choice to make: either align with the school year and do a release by august, or align with upstream for better collaboration
12:31 tomeu sure, that's what I guessed
12:32 bernie We should probably get used that the former will always take precedence in all deployments...
12:32 I'm not suggesting we adjust the sugar release schedule to follow through... we might want to be prepared to have always a big delta between upsteam and what gets deployed
12:33 as long as patches flow upstream at the same speed they are developed, there's no problem
12:33 tomeu sure, downstreams will get better at managing their delta
12:34 well, at least looks like who are putting more development resources are also providing maintenance help and also guiding themselves by what deployments need
12:34 bernie anyway, there are two types of fork. the hostile ones and those meant to accommodate different needs of different user bases... the latter is what we do and it's not necessarily a bad thing
12:34 tomeu so we are in a sustainable path even without deployment's direct intervention
12:35 so maybe SLs can do without them for a bit longer?
12:35 bernie tomeu: indeed. collabora and olpc are putting some good engineers on sugar
12:35 plus AC...
12:36 the goal of Sugar Labs (in my mind) was to create an industry around Sugar... and this seems to be happening finally
12:36 tomeu yeah, m_anish is good and alsroot is going to a deployment
12:36 bernie: I still think it would be more efficient for deployments pooling resources in SLs, but maybe that will come later
12:36 bernie the disconnection between deployments and upstream development will be filled if 2 more developers besides me get to travel around
12:37 walterbender bernie: I've never been successful raising money for that :(
12:37 tomeu walterbender: well, from what I have heard deployments would be happy to pay the costs
12:38 the problem is rather finding talented people that can do that and also not get paid as much as they could
12:38 what SLs should do is to organize (and fund) a sugarcamp
12:39 that's what GNOME Found. mainly does
12:39 walterbender tomeu: we have an open invitation to hold a Sugar camp in Miami...
12:39 bernie walterbender: perhaps funding within SL is not what we actually needed to keep development going.
12:39 walterbender: unlike many, I strongly believe that even a 100% volunteer-driven project can go a long way. what was missing in SL so far was contact with users.
12:39 walterbender bernie: not funding developers... funding face-to-face time
12:40 bernie: so I think we are in agreement
12:40 bernie walterbender: oh yes. that's really important
12:40 tomeu walterbender: ah, I was seeing as two different things having developers spending some months in a deployment, and gathering people in hackfests
12:40 what bernie has done is more the former
12:41 bernie tomeu: this might sound shocking at first, but if you think about it, *today* almost all the sugar contributors are paid in one form or another.
12:42 tomeu: notable exceptions were sascha and aleksey, but we're fixing the latter at least.
12:42 walterbender bernie: paid to work on Sugar or paid?
12:42 tomeu bernie: old news :p http://blog.tomeuvizoso.net/20[…]-has-changed.html
12:42 walterbender bernie: and paid a competitive rate?
12:42 bernie walterbender: well, I've been paid (although very little) along with tch and jasg. tomeu and erikos are both paid... all the AA folks too...
12:43 walterbender: plus olpc is hiring a bunch of full-time and part-time positions...
12:43 walterbender: we seem to have lost one paid developer, though: sayamindu. which will be VERY missed.
12:44 tomeu: yep, I remember reading that blog entry of yours. I liked it very much.
12:45 cjb bernie: this is pretty good, it means we can say "hack on sugar, there's likely to be a paid job in it for you if you're good", etc
12:45 bernie so the problem of not having paid positions is mostly solved. actually, deployments and AC can't seem to find more sugar developers easily.
12:45 tomeu yeah, I'm worried about finding good people to cover positions
12:45 bernie cjb: I was almost sure that would have happened if the install base of sugar became large enough
12:45 walterbender tomeu: I agree
12:46 the people bernie listed are all already participating...
12:46 bernie cjb: 2 years ago, the olpc installation base was way too small and the early deployments were still fighting hw and infrastructure issues... now they are mature
12:46 walterbender we've seen little increase in our numbers through $$
12:46 but maybe avoided some attrition
12:47 tomeu bad news are that companies are paying an awful lot of money for people with the required skills
12:47 bernie walterbender: this is normal, the linux distributors *always* hires from the community.
12:48 walterbender: this made redhat and canonical leaders, while sun and novell loosers (because their community relationships were terrible)
12:48 walterbender good thing we are so adept at community relations :)
12:48 tomeu heh
12:48 so that's the third issue
12:49 didn't had any luck with the community team or manager
12:49 bernie our community seems healthy to me... not so much SL as an organization, though. are you guys as worried as I am?
12:49 we seem to have lost also sean now...
12:49 tomeu bernie: I'm not as worried with SLs because the sugar ecosystem seems to be doing well without us :p
12:49 bernie at the organizational level, very little is happening within SL lately.
12:49 tomeu but it's a bit sad to think of the lost opportunities
12:50 walterbender tomeu: such as...
12:50 bernie yes, I wouldn't be particularly bothered if it turned out that SL has reached its goal and is no longer important to the future of Sugar.
12:50 tomeu walterbender: I said above that things are moving in the right direction, but because of what are doing people not directly involved in SLs
12:51 such as AC, OLPC and Collabora
12:51 SLs has had a passive role in the success of those organizations
12:51 bernie tomeu: I liked bemasc's comment a few weeks ago that we should hand off SL to deployments.
12:51 of course, it cannot happen by signing a contract.
12:52 it would have to happen gradually, ideally by making deployments people escalate SL from the inside...
12:53 however, I don't see much interest from deployments in covering the "political" roles of sugarlabs: they don't candidate for slobs, team coordinators.. not even mere members.
12:53 tomeu walterbender: to be frank, I haven't felt supported enough when I tried to start the deployment team, nor the community team, nor starting the maintainer training program
12:53 walterbender tomeu: Maybe in the case of Collabora there is no direct involvement in SL, but in the other cases, it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends...
12:53 tomeu: I am not sure what we can do to provide more support in those cases...
12:54 tomeu walterbender: coordination
12:54 bernie tomeu: at that time, I wasn't a deployment person. if you did it now, I would have participated.
12:54 cjb walterbender: oh, could you talk about the SLOBs election?  when's it supposed to happen?
12:54 tomeu bernie: maybe we just need to try from time to time
12:54 walterbender cjb: good point...
12:54 bernie tomeu: rgs tried to revive the Deployment Team, but after one interesting meeting it went dark again.
12:54 walterbender can we switch topics?
12:54 bernie sure
12:55 walterbender bernie: I think rgs__  was too busy with other things... we should not have agreed to let him take it on...
12:55 bernie tomeu: (for later) have you seen what marcopg has been up to? sugar-core, I mean.
12:55 walterbender: more than agreed, we kind of pushed him to do it
12:56 tomeu bernie: bits of it
12:56 (not suire if I have missed anything)
12:56 cjb looks like last year it ran 2-16 Oct or so
12:56 walterbender #topic election
12:56 cjb: what I don't recall is if we adopted the staggered term concept or abandoned it
12:57 cjb:  I think the election mechanics worked out OK last year... better than the first time
12:58 bernie walterbender: indeed
12:58 walterbender cjb: if we use Sept. to solicit candidates, we can have an election in Oct. again
13:01 bernie I'm not sure whether I would candidate or not... I'm afraid that next year my role within SL will diminish too much to justify being a slob.
13:02 walterbender bernie: :(
13:02 bernie otoh, now I have more deployment experience, therefore I could represent deployments within the board.
13:02 walterbender +1
13:02 bernie ideally, I'd like a real deplyment person such as rgs to be on the board instead of me.
13:02 cjb walterbender: should we ask for a volunteer to run the election, or maybe get a SLOB who doesn't intend to stand again to do it?
13:02 walterbender be nice to recruit someone from the pedagogy side
13:03 cjb: either is OK... maybe the latter...
13:03 cjb: I can ask lfarone if he'd be willing to do the membership drive again
13:04 cjb sounds good
13:04 bernie walterbender: this is something I always think about: how to attract more pedagogists within SL.
13:04 walterbender: lfaraone did a great job last time
13:04 walterbender bernie: they are out there... the weekly chat is getting good attendance
13:04 bernie walterbender: who was the other member of the membership committee? quozl?
13:05 walterbender bernie: I don't recall...
13:05 bernie walterbender: weekly chat of claudia urrea?
13:05 walterbender si
13:05 we have a few action items to take care for the election:
13:05 1. get the membership committee in order
13:06 2. recruit someone to run the election
13:06 3. solicit some candidates
13:06 4. hold the election
13:07 cjb walterbender: it looks like (at least from the email record) we did do staggered, top four for two years
13:08 walterbender cjb: great... makes it easier... but who were the top four?
13:08 cjb http://www.olpcnews.com/use_ca[…]tion_results.html
13:08 walter, tomeu, mel, bernie
13:08 bernie damn, I don't need to recandidate then :-)
13:09 walterbender so bernie is with us next year whether he likes it or not :)
13:09 tomeu bernie: change of plans! :)
13:09 bernie lol, it's my destiny :-)
13:09 whether or not I'll be a slob , I can *guarantee* continued support of SL from within the infrastructure team.
13:10 with SMParrish and rgs__ just joined in, the SL infrastructure is really well staffed this year.
13:10 tomeu bernie: infrastructure is really fundamental
13:10 \o/
13:11 walterbender any ideas about #2 above, or should I just solicit in the Digest?
13:12 cjb or an iaep@ mail.  I expect someone'll volunteer..
13:14 walterbender I am asking lfarone re #1 on #sugar
13:14 cjb cool
13:15 I should go to work now, will catch up later
13:15 thanks
13:15 walterbender cjb: thanks. CU
13:15 bernie cjb: you can't run the election this time because you'll have to be re-elected.
13:15 cjb: too bad, I liked how you did run the election last time
13:16 cjb: ah, you've dropped off the meeting
13:16 cjb bernie: I didn't do it last time :)
13:16 I think dfarning did
13:16 bernie cjb: really? I was sure it was you.
13:16 walterbender I guess since I am not standing for reelection, I could do it.
13:16 bernie walterbender: +1
13:16 walterbender seem OK?
13:17 but I will try to solicit someone nonetheless...
13:19 do we need any motions re this discussion? seems administrative, not legislative.
13:19 Anyway, we should wrap up the formal meeting...
13:20 unless there are any other pressing issues?
13:20 If we meet again in two week? I hope to have the election plans sorted out in the interim.
13:21 OK
13:21 3
13:22 2
13:22 1
13:22 #endmeeting

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